WHO: Europe the only region with rise in COVID-19 last week

The World Health Organization says there has been a 7% rise in new coronavirus cases across Europe last week

WHO said the two regions with the highest rates of COVID-19 incidence were Europe and the Americas. Globally, the U.S. reported the biggest number of new cases, more than 580,000, which still represented a 11% decline.

Britain, Russia and Turkey accounted for the most cases in Europe.

But for the third consecutive week, coronavirus cases have jumped in Europe, with about 1.3 million new cases. More than half of countries in the region reported a rise in their COVID-19 numbers, WHO said. Britain and Russia each reported about a 15% increase in new cases.

In a statement Wednesday, WHO's Europe office said 1 billion coronavirus vaccines have now been administered across the continent and described uneven vaccine uptake as “the region's biggest enemy in the fight against COVID-19.”

In the past week, Russia has repeatedly broken new daily records for COVID-19 cases and the number of infections in the U.K. has surged to levels not seen since mid-July.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday backed a Cabinet proposal to keep Russian workers home for a week in an effort to stem the spread of the virus.

Russian officials have struggled to vaccinate the population but due to vaccine skepticism, only about 32% of people have been immunized despite the availability of its Sputnik V vaccine. It has by far the largest virus death toll in Europe, with more than 225,000 deaths.

Although the head of Britain's National Health Service has urged the government to introduce stricter COVID-19 protocols including mask-wearing and the faster vaccination of children, politicians have so far demurred.

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